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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Starting Pitchers, #61-90

Despite a scorching hot stove (I can’t believe the player you’re thinking of did or did not sign with the team you thought they would!), January and February can be some of the darkest months of the year (figuratively and literally). But fear not, restless readers. The Dynasty Guru is here to the rescue.

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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2019 consensus rankings by looking at our 61-90 dynasty starting pitchers.

61) Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 99)

Porcello has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball to provide two things: Innings and an ERA around four. Yes, a fluky 2017 happened, and he won a Cy Young, but otherwise, he’s been consistently a decent pitcher and little more. He plays for a good team and will chip in 8-15 wins too. In ’18 he made a significant change that should interest fantasy owners. His strikeout rate rose to a career-high 8.94 (career 6.59). He achieved this by throwing his very average fastball less and his slider more. Porcello is what he is, a decent #4 or 5 fantasy starter. (Mike Tanner)

62) Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)

In fantasy, the key to winning leagues is finding stars, not just players that contribute. Paddack is going to be a star. He exploded on the scene in ’18. And for a good reason, he is a prototypical front-line pitcher. Good frame, 6’4” and 200 lbs. His calling card is a ridiculous changeup, excellent command, and a running fastball. The glut of young arms in San Diego are downright embarrassing, but in a 12 to 15-team dynasty, I’d prefer to own Paddack over most of them. He is relatively close to the majors and probably will contribute meaningful innings in ’20, he has a high floor and good ceiling with excellent swing and miss stuff. (Mike Tanner)

63) Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR)

It seems like two things artificially inflate a player’s value. Throwing ridiculous heat and excellent playoff performances. Eovaldi checks both boxes this year. I admit it’s hard not to root for Eovaldi who was coming off of his second Tommy John surgery. However, he is unlikely to provide much more than 120-140 innings, and his injury risk is well documented. Previous injuries are the best predictor for future injuries and his elbow has been blown out twice. Sell high now while you still can. (Mike Tanner)

64) Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 89)

Anderson probably doesn’t join a rotation full-time until ’21, but I love his long-term profile. He has consistently had a very high strikeout rate, low-to-manageable WHIP, and seems to improve a little each year. Anderson already has three solid offerings and improving command. Expect the Braves not to rush him, but I’d bet on him to stick in the rotation and be productive once he arrives. Players like Fried and Toussaint closer to the majors but carry far more bullpen risk than Anderson. (Mike Tanner)

65) Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 13)

Quintana has been known as a workhorse SP that gives you quality starts, good ratios and near 200 innings. Despite starting 32 games in each of the past three seasons, his inning totals have dropped from 208 to 188, to 176. The reason? In ’18 when he faced hitters a third time they averaged .329, his ERA was 7.16, and his WHIP was near 2. He is getting killed late in games, plain and simple. He was getting the hook after the 5th inning about half the time in August & September. He doesn’t play significantly better on the road vs. home or struggled against righty hitters. I think his ratios rebound in ’19, but the volume of 200 innings is a thing of the past. (Mike Tanner)

66) Alex Wood, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 35)

Wood dazzled in ’17 with a sub 3 ERA. Looking at his overall body of work, this appears to be an outlier. He is still a very good starter with a mid 3 ERA and some durability concerns. He has faded late in the season and suffered when shuffled from rotation to the bullpen. Jeff Zimmerman has said that true fantasy value really equates to 2 things: skills and playing time. Wood has always lacked playing time as pointed out by our own writer EJ Fagan last year: “If we knew that Wood would have the opportunity to make 33 starts for the next few years, he might be ranked higher than 35.” We’re about to find out Wood’s real fantasy value. (Mike Tanner)

67) Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR)

A bit of a late bloomer, Stripling was best known for taking a no-hitter into the 7th only to be pulled by the manager. Now, after a breakout ’18 season, the biggest obstacle to his value is playing time, but I wouldn’t be too deterred by that. Kershaw, old man Rich Hill, and Ryu have not been able to put together healthy seasons. He’ll be worth every start once he gets in the rotation and I bet that is sooner than most project. Elite command, a curveball that tunnels with his fastball beautifully, and good potential for wins make Stripling a top 40 pitcher in ’19. (Mike Tanner)

68) Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Indians (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 45)

Affectionately known as “sticks” for his build (how is it possible to be 6’5” and weigh 165 lbs?), McKenzie comes with significant risk and a decent floor. He missed two months in ’18 with “forearm soreness” and lacked some velocity upon his return. He has two plus pitches and is working on a third. He is currently being developed as a starter, but whether he will be a mid-rotation arm or fantasy gem remains to be seen. He expects to reach the majors in mid-2020 but may not be more exciting than an SP5-6 in fantasy. (Mike Tanner)

69) Justus Sheffield, Seattle Mariners (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 74)

Sheffield was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Paxton to the Yankees. Mild alarm bells go off in my head when an organization is willing to part with a young arm so close to the majors. Sheffield’s numbers in Triple-A suggest that he has some potential, but much of it remains projection at this point. He has only logged 88 innings in Triple-A and may not be as ready as most believe. Don’t be surprised if he is held down past the super two deadlines unless he is beating the door down. Despite the potential, Sheffield just has a few too many concerns, health, small frame, lacking elite stuff, etc. for me to target in dynasty. (Mike Tanner)

70) Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers, (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)

Ryu will give you good, but not elite, ratios (3.04 FIP vs. his sparkling 1.97 ERA) when he plays. The problem is that he just doesn’t play all that often. Add that to his age, and the fact that he is doubtful to don a Dodgers jersey in ’20 and his value in dynasty circles justifies his rankings. Grab him on the cheap where you can, but don’t worry too much about cutting him loose when injury strikes. (Mike Tanner)

71) Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds, (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 57)

19-year-old Hunter Greene is years away from making an impact on the Reds’ roster, but that didn’t stop us from ranking him as our 71st best starting pitcher. Nor did his age deter the Reds from making him the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, and for good reason. This kid’s fastball is scary. So far he has used the weapon to blow away Single-A hitters. He’ll face a tougher test this year when he begins the year at High-A. Look for him to continue developing his secondary offerings as he aims to better complement his extraordinary fastball. Greene does have a lot of room to grow to become a frontline starter. And yes, young arms do carry a ton of risk. But if he pans out, this Red will be lightning in a bottle. (Jonathan Merkel)

72) Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 110)

Reynaldo Lopez moves up 38 spots in our rankings after throwing almost 200 innings for the ChiSox. He strung together 45.2 sensational innings to close out the year on a filthy tear. In that span he mowed down 48 batters in 45 innings, notched a K-BB% of 19.1, and hitters only batted a .172 average against him. It’s stretches like this that give us hope about what Lopez can do. This dominant sample has made believers out of some of our staff. I’m playing it cautious and trusting the other 148.2 innings Reynaldo pitched. Those innings indicate he’s an average to below-average starter–4.66 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 5.51 xFIP. I suppose you’ll have to decide what’s best for your roster when it comes to Reynaldo.  (Jonathan Merkel)

73) Yusei Kikuchi, Seattle Mariners, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: N/A)

The season’s biggest international signing and one of the best players in Nippon Professional Baseball, Yusei Kikuchi, will slide right into the Mariners’ 2019 starting rotation. The left-handed import looks like he’ll be a strong performer and should have success right away. He leans on a mid-90’s fastball and assortment of breaking stuff to keep hitters off-balance and strike them out. Kikuchi finished his last season in Japan by striking out 23.4% of hitters he faced. That’s not too shabby considering NPB batters struck out only 18.9% of the time. Because MLB hitters strike out at an even higher rate, it seems likely that Yusei will continue racking up Ks at a decent clip. That’s a promising foundation to build upon and there’s a lot dynasty promise in this ex-Seibu Lion. Draft with confidence. (Jonathan Merkel)

74) Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers, (Age: 22, Previous Ranks: 105)

Julio Urias returns to our list for a third straight year. He was ranked 15 in 2017, then 105 last year, and now sits at 74. Regardless of rank, the best news for fans is that Urias’ scary anterior capsule shoulder injury is behind him. He has already returned to a big league role, albeit in 10.1 bullpen innings. Remember: patience is a virtue, and Urias is still just 22 years old. That leaves him plenty of time to regain his strength and return to a rotation role where he’ll fulfill his incredible potential. He has always has been a special talent, as our 2017 rank would indicate. Owners searching for upside could do much worse than to bet on this phenom. (Jonathan Merkel)

75) Matthew Liberatore, Tampa Bay Rays, (Age: 19, Previous Rank: N/A)

Matthew Liberatore is a 19-year-old starter with ace upside. He joined the Tampa Bay Rays after being selected 16th overall in 2018. Widely considered the best high-school prospect in his class, Liberatore’s arsenal is already well above-average and should continue to improve as he develops. And when it comes to development, the youngster could not have landed in better hands. The Rays often set the curve for the rest of the league when it comes to maximizing a young player’s value. All things considered, it’s easy to dream on Liberatore’s exciting future.  (Jonathan Merkel)

76) Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 100)

Los Angeles Angel Tyler Skaggs had his best season as a pro in 2018. He finished with a career-high K/9 of 9.26. His walk rate–2.87 BB/9–was also his best since 2014. And he accomplished all this despite being obliterated down the stretch. Dynasty owners who disregarded my advice were handsomely rewarded by a player that likely cost little to nothing on draft day. Can he do it again? I’m willing to believe. Skaggs’ jump in strikeouts is backed up by another career high: a swinging strike rate of 11%. That’s about 3% more whiffs than he generated in 2017. Skaggs will bring an elevated risk of injuries, but when he’s healthy the guy can really bring it. (Jonathan Merkel)

77) Zack Godley, Arizona Diamondbacks, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 46)

Godley regressed last season after an epic 2017 performance but there is still a lot to like about him. He struck out more than a batter per inning, his swinging-strike percentage remained well above-average at 11.5%, and he did a terrific job limiting opponent home runs once again. In each of these areas, Godley performed at a very high level. But he struggled with walks. He saw his BB/9 balloon from 3.08 to 4.09 in 2018. His BABIP also jumped .280 to .324 in the same span. To make matters worse, even his LOB% dropped from 75.2 to 67.5%. These developments will always negate positive outcomes, and Godley suffered through it all. So don’t believe everything about that 4.74 ERA. It wasn’t as bad as it looked, and upside remains in Godley’s arm. (Jonathan Merkel)

78) Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 68)

Kyle Wright is but one drop in a never-ending stream of talented arms currently developing in the Braves system. As Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel wrote, “He’s a near ideal combination of frame, arm action, delivery, athleticism, broad repertoire, and feel for pitching.” That make-up helped the former number 5 overall pick crack the big leagues in 2018 while making four relief appearances. He has more development to do, but Wright is getting close to becoming an Atlanta rotation stalwart. Throughout the minors, he has maintained a nice K/BB ratio and kept the ball on the ground. That will play. While he could be blocked from starting every fifth day in the short-term, it’s only a matter of time before he starts in the majors. He’s a safe arm to bank on. (Jonathan Merkel)

79) Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 40)

Michael Fulmer took a major step backward last year. While he was never known for piling up Ks, he managed to outperform his flawed peripherals by inducing a ton of grounders and allowing fewer than one a homer per 9 IP. But Fulmer, like Godley, experienced a rash of negative regression last season. His walks went up, his ground balls went down, and he gave up homers at the highest rate of his career. Injuries likely played a part, and cost him a month during the season. A torn meniscus also ended the year early for Fulmer. It would seem the Tigers, and most dynasty owners, are wishing they’d traded him before last season. Moving forward, one has to hope for a healthy season from Fulmer. He was a coveted trade chip and our 40th ranked starter for a reason. There’s still value lurking in this 25-year-old Tiger. (Jonathan Merkel)

80) Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 66)

Carlos Rodon is a wildcard whose biggest question mark is health, but his 2018 performance indicates he’s a wildcard on the mound as well. After returning from shoulder surgery, Rodon debuted in June. His first month was average. He then posted incredible results for two months. To close out the year, Rodon barfed up 28 earned runs in 27.1 innings. What do we make of him? Hard to say. Rodon’s late-season struggles appear to be fatigue related. Hitters hit .204, .229, and .115 against his fastball June thru August. Then in September hitters started batting .490 against it. But there’s real reason for worry when we step back further. He struck out fewer than 7 batters per 9 IP, for one. That’s far fewer batters in 2018 than he’d ever averaged before. Even his best months were accompanied by a FIP and xFIP of 3.90 and 4.77. I’d say you’ll be better off letting someone else bank on this Southside enigma. (Jonathan Merkel)

81) Brusdar Graterol, Minnesota Twins, (Age 20, Previous Rank: NR)

The top pitching prospect in the Twins system, Graterol is currently a Tommy John success story. Before the surgery, his fastball sat in the high 80’s, upon his return he picked up over 10 miles per hour and shot up prospect rankings. Not only did he see a huge uptick in velocity, he somehow managed to keep control of where the pitch was going. He topped 100 innings pitched for the first time in his career in 2018 and looks to be headed to Double-A this season. Still at least a year or two away, but with his ace upside, he should be worth the wait. (Paul Monte)

82) Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates, (Age 26, Previous Rank: 139)

2018 included an injury to his shoulder, an infected finger, surgery to repair his right abdominal wall and a stress fracture in his pelvis. Besides that, he had a pretty good year.  There is excitement around Musgrove heading into 2019 as he hopes to keep his ERA under 4.00 for the first time in his career while still sporting a WHIP under 1.20 as he did last year. The bullpen question mark has followed Musgrove around thus far in his career, and he has yet to pitch over 150 innings, it will be very important for him to stay healthy this year and continue his progress as a mid-rotation starter. (Paul Monte)

83) J.A. Happ, New York Yankees, (Age 36, Previous Rank: 98)

Climbing 15 spots in a dynasty ranking as you turn 36 years old is an impressive feat, and that is exactly what Happ has done this year. Leaving Toronto for New York in a midseason trade certainly helped but that’s not the full picture. His skills have improved as he has aged, leading to a career-best 26.3% strikeout rate in 2019. Likely ignored by some dynasty owners because of his age, he is definitely someone to look into acquiring if you are a contending team. He may not replicate his career season, but his floor in New York remains high. (Paul Monte)

84) Joey Lucchesi, San Diego Padres, (Age 25, Previous Rank: NR)

One of the plusses as a prospect was his ability to move through the Padres minor league system. He moved a little quicker than most thought, the second game of the season to be exact. Lucchesi stepped into the hole in the rotation left by Dinelson Lamet. He fared well, but there are still plenty to be skeptical about because he relies on deception. Entering his second season, batters will have time to study Lucchesi and his offspeed pitch that he had so much success with. Two-pitch starters are tough to go all-in for, but those who believe will need to get in now, as he will rise quickly if he continues 2019 how he finished 2018. (Paul Monte)

85) Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics (Age 27, Previous Rank: 67)

2018 started out as good as you could hope for- through April his ERA sat at 1.03, giving up just 6 runs in 43.2 innings. April included a 10 strikeout, no-hit performance against the would-be World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. 2018 ended in a way that turned what could have been a dream season into a nightmare. In late September surgery on his shoulder was performed by Dr. Neil ElAttrache. The results were the best case, and there is a slight chance that he could return this year. The likely outcome is you stash Manaea on an Injured List (RIP DL), and hope for a full recovery in 2020. (Paul Monte)

86) Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies (Age 26, Previous Rank: 104)

Once a top 40 dynasty pitcher, Velasquez saw a bit of a rebound in the rankings heading into 2019. He did manage to put up a solid season but was unable to eclipse 150 innings for the first time in his career. The strikeouts are still there, as he struck out 161 batters in the 146.2 innings he pitched, good enough for a 9.9 K/9. 2018 mercifully came to an end as he did not see the 6th inning in any of his last 9 starts, posting an 8.45 ERA from August 8th on. He still has the stuff and strikeout ability, and at age 26 it would be unwise to give up on him now. (Paul Monte)

87) Luke Weaver, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age 25, Previous Rank: 42)

After an impressive 2018, Weaver shot up the dynasty rankings. It was just over 60 innings in the Major Leagues, but he posted an impressive 10.7 K/9. That number dropped to 8.0 in 2018, and his ERA and WHIP rose to 4.95 and 1.496 respectively. It was unclear if he would still have a spot in the rotation in Saint Louis to start this season, and the Cardinals took care of that mystery by shipping to him to Arizona in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. A fresh start may be what Weaver needs heading into 2019, and he’ll get that with the Diamondbacks. He’ll get another shot to start and bounce back after a 2018 he’d like to forget. (Paul Monte)

88) Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age 38, Previous Rank: 93)

125 good innings are what you can expect from Rich Hill. Even if he didn’t play for the Dodgers, at 38 years old, with chronic blister issues, getting more than 135 would be a reach. If your team is not looking like a contender, move him: you will find contending teams that would be interested in what he can provide them. (Paul Monte)

89) Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age 30, Previous Rank: 107)

125 good innings are what you can expect from Kenta Maeda. This time we can blame the Dodgers. Maybe they didn’t want to pay him that inning bonus, maybe they wanted to keep him strong for their playoff run, maybe they hate fantasy baseball owners. Whatever it was, it was frustrating to own him. He is penciled in as a starter again, but even with Wood being sent to Cincinnati, Stripling will certainly challenge him for the fifth starter role. The 28.8% strikeout rate is hard to give up on as a fantasy owner, we’re probably best waiting to see what the Dodgers do this time. (Paul Monte)

90) Jake Arrieta, Philadelphia Phillies (Age 33, Previous Rank: 33)

It’s been all downhill since his Cy Young award winning 2015 season. He has seen every meaningful fantasy stat decline every year since, ending last season with a 3.96 ERA, 4.26 FIP, and 7.2 K/9. If you held on for once last year, hoping that Philadelphia would help turn things around, you likely waited a year too long. He’s not in Felix Hernandez territory just yet, but if this continues on much longer, it won’t end nicely. Most projection systems call for a very slight improvement over his 2018 season, one in which he earned less than a dollar in a 15 team, two catcher league. (Paul Monte)

The Author

Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson

Ian is an editor for The Dynasty Guru and a bowtie enthusiast. If you guessed one of those things about him you could probably guess the other.

He's also an attorney in Tampa, Florida.

Go Rays.

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